Just over a month after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration submitted a proposed regulation to require speed limiters on big rigs to the DOT, it has been returned to the agency without approval.

A new U.S. DOT report on significant rulemakings reveals it was returned on April 18, without a publicly stated reason. The proposal is scheduled to be resubmitted to the Office of the DOT Secretary in late July.

NHTSA says this rulemaking responds to petitions several years ago from ATA and the public interest group Roadsafe America to require the installation of speed limiting devices on heavy trucks.

In response to the petitions, NHTSA requested public comment on the subject and says it received thousands of comments supporting the petitioners’ request.

In the notice on the status on the proposal, NHTSA says, “this rulemaking would consider a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard that would require the installation of speed limiting devices on heavy trucks. We believe this rule would have minimal cost, as all heavy trucks already have these devices installed, although some vehicles do not have the limit set. This rule would decrease the estimated 1,115 fatal crashes annually involving vehicles with a gross-vehicle weight rating of over 26,000 pounds on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or above.”

The issue of requiring speed limiters is controversial in trucking, because some believe they would decrease efficiency in trucking, as well as actually increasing the risk of truck involved crashes due to four-wheelers and truck traveling at very different speeds.

If the proposal is to ever become a regulation, it has to be approved by the U.S. DOT Secretary and the White House Office of Management and Budget. It’s estimated it will be submitted to OMB in late August, with the rule being published in the Federal Register in early December, and the following comment period closing in early February of 2014. There is no indication when it could possibly take effect if it receives all of the necessary approvals.

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